Topics: BUDGET, Business

Pacific communities disappointed with Budget 2017

By Taroi Black

Pacific people make up over 290,000 of New Zealand's population and some Pacific communities feel disappointed with last week's budget announcement. 

Labour MP, Aupito Su'a Williams Sio says, "The government here has a habit of saying one thing and doing something else and in this particular case they're not walking the talk in regards to Pacific people and the value of languages and cultures and being able to pass that on to the next generation. "
 
Prime Minister Bill English has set aside $7.3million towards boosting Samoan Tourism to mark the 55th anniversary of the country's state of independence. Labour party says that doesn't benefit those Samoan descendants living in New Zealand, and a Pacific business leader in South Auckland says more support should be provided to Pacific Island youth.  
 
Pacific Business Leader, Noma Sio-Faiumu says, "If there isn't an adequate budget to support the creativity and career pathways of our rangatahi and our youth in areas like Mangere in South Auckland where we have a huge population. Then we're not taking advantage of our natural resources."
 
This week National announced another $3 million for Pacific policies, projects and programmes which they believe will make an impact, however, Labour MP Aupito Su'a Williams Sio claims the World's largest Polynesian Festival, the ASB Polyfest got a $50,000 budget cut which will have a negative impact on school participation. 
 
Sio says, "It may mean that some schools won't be able to participate, it may mean that we don't have sufficient people to man some of those stages. It may mean that we might not be able to pay the bills in terms of the organisers."
 
Minister Joyce says the Polyfest has not had a funding cut and the three-year funding was scheduled to finish this year. Mr William Sio also believes, overall tax cut packages will favour higher income earners.